As with any stretch of water there is an abundance of life above and below the surface at Southfield reservoirs where Beaver Sailing Club is situated. For most sailors their attention is focused on wind direction, sail setting, buoy rounding and other competing boats. Every now and then though a group of cormorants drying out their wings on the bank between lakes, looking ungainly posed like scarecrows distracts even the most focused sailor. A duck with her brood of downy chicks desperately paddle to avoid being overwhelmed by the foaming bow of a furiously beating dinghy.
It is quickly apparent that we are intruding in their space. After all we’re only on the water a matter of hours. As soon as all boats are clear of the lake, Crested Grebes will swim around the jetties in front of the clubhouse diving for food in the disturbed water. Canada and Greylag geese will land in and start to make their way to the shore. If we wait long enough a heron will land on a jetty poising itself ready to fish.
Our visiting ornithologists will regale you with their sightings and they keep a chalk board on the clubhouse of anything special. The birdwatching community’s website HERE says all there is about the birds at Southfield.
The host of fishermen regularly seen on the edges of both lakes, often in competitions, is testament to the plenitude of sub aqua life. With main species of Bream, Perch, Pike, Roach and Rudd there’s plenty sport for them and food for others. For a fuller picture see the fishing community’s website HERE.
Ashore too can be seen unusual activity. Mink scamper around clubhouse buildings and are particularly active at mating season. Like black furry cats they scurry in and out of small places. Moles are in evidence! Sometimes it is just evidence that tells you a certain creature is about. Rubber on boat covers and fittings chewed away lets you know the field mice have been.
Some would say the best time to be at Beaver Sailing Club is not when boats are out but when there is no-one else but you. With a pair of binoculars and a bit of patience you will see things that will remind you of your place in the order of nature. How more beautiful than sighting a kingfisher on a mooring line? As you leave the site you’ll have a contented soul. Guaranteed.
For an unusual view of Southfield reservoirs the following aerial video taken from a drone (DJI Phantom 3) shows the watery setting and its surrounds;